January 20, 2009

TOFU, the Stretch and Squash Robot

We recently discovered MIT's Media Lab's TOFU, created by Ryan Wistort. Named after the food, this bot can also stretch and squash. The weird looking bot's technology has been previously used by animators to create social expressions in 2D. Its eyes are OLED, giving it an even eerier appearance.

Via MIT Media Lab

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January 13, 2009

Robot Suit Aids Farmers


Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology recently demonstrated their new robot suit designed to aid farmers. The 55 lb. wearable machine has 8 motors and 16 sensors to assist those who need leg and joint support when crouching or reaching up. During the demo, the man wearing the suit picked both radishes and oranges. The team is hoping to make the prototype commercially available in 2 or 3 years at a price of about $5,000 - $10,000 dollars. Those farmers had better be having banner yields to afford them at that price.


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January 6, 2009

i-SOBOT Named Robot of the Year 2008


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) was established in 2006 in Japan to encourage the development of robotics. In December, they announced that the 2008 robot of the year was Takara Tomy's i-SOBOT because of its decent price, advanced technology and entertainment value. We have heard some vague rumors that Tomy was thinking of discontinuing the diminutive bot, but suspect they will now rethink this.


Other awards went to Book Time, an auto-page turning bot and a rice planting robot developed by the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization.


Via Pink Tentacle

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December 18, 2008

Jollbot - Rock & Roll

Rhodri Armour and his team from the University of Bath's Center for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies in England created Jollbot, who can roll over smooth terrain and jump over obstacles. Hoping that the odd-looking robot will be a part of the space race, its unique shape allows it to go in any direction without getting stuck in potholes (or craters.) Weighing less than two pounds, it has less chance of injury than other exploration robots. After launch, it can go as high as 20". Imagine what it can do in space.

Via Fox News

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December 16, 2008

RoboClams Dig Down

MIT, inspired by the razor clam, has made their own. They are hoping that it will not only give insight about the mollusk, but that it can travel along the ocean floor and dig in like a real clam. While this sounds like an exercise in futility, when the project is completed, the team is hoping that the RoboClams would hook up to robotic submarines to measure current, temperature, etc. They could also help detonate underwater mines. Imagine the surprise when a clam digger comes up with this in her/his net.


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December 4, 2008

MIT Students' Final Includes Robotic Arms


Four teams of MIT students taking an Introduction to Robotics class had to build robotic arms and accompanying software as their final project. After creating them and practicing for 7 weeks, they then had to make an incision in a silicone organ and remove a jelly bean that was supposed to represent a tumor. Don't be surprised if you see one of those arms leaning over you in the future about to remove your appendix.

Via MIT News

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November 26, 2008

Paro Cuddles, Achieves Mental Commitment


Paro is a "Mental Commitment Robot," designed with such sweetness that it provides relaxation and motivation, psychological and physiological effects for its owner. Created by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Denmark has purchased 1,000 of the robotic baby harp seals for health care facilities and is hoping to complete the adoption process by 2011. The AIST says there is an improvement in vital signs and social skills when in play and we suspect the furry bot has earned his title of "World's Most Therapuetic Robot" by Guinness.

Via Paro

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November 24, 2008

Scarlet Knight, R.I.P.


We have such sad news to report. The Rutgers University undersea robot RU-17 went 3,500 miles towards its destination of Spain, then disappeared about 250 miles northwest of Flores Island in the Azores. Scott M. Glenn, the head of the team says that he believes it is on the bottom of the ocean. The Scarlet Knight was last heard from Oct. 28. when it sent a message that its internals sensors detected a leak.

While the project may have accomplished its mission of getting students more involved in oceanic sciences, we still hope that maybe RU17 will phone home or be found. Another trek is planned next March.

Via App

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November 20, 2008

Algaster Harvesting Robot


Algaster is a clever little bot that harvests up to 100kg of algae at a time. Designed by, Stefano Pertegato, Philipp Frank, Marco Nicoletti, Francesco Schiraldi, and Eloisa Tolu, he can be used in areas that are heavily polluted. He stores what he reaps in 10 containers that come up to the surface by hot-air balloon. Several are needed but they are autonomous. Each is controlled by GPS and works on robotic legs so that the ecosystem is not harmed. We would love it if they would design a smaller version for our fish tank.

Via Tuvie

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November 19, 2008

UC Berkeley Lets RoACH Loose


We admit it. Roaches may be one of God's creatures, but the site of them makes us cringe in horror. UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab has developed RoACH (Robotic Autonomous Crawling Hexapod) that equally creeps us out. At a size of 35 x 14 x 13 mm, the bot has a flexible polymer skeleton with 2ยบ of movement and two sets of legs that bend forward or backwards. It can move one body length per second for about 9.5 minutes on its battery power before needing a recharge. You can build your own roachbot for about $1,000.00, but honestly, would you want to?


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